Rabbit Hole: Superb Cast Pulls You In

26 12 2010

Based on the Tony award-winning play of the same name, Rabbit Hole stars Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest and Sandra Oh, featuring a screenplay by the playwright himself, David Lindsay-Abaire, and direction by John Cameron Mitchell of Hedwig and the Angry Inch fame. Here’s the breakdown:

Becca (Kidman) and Howie (Eckhart) struggle to come to terms with the death of their young son, Danny. As their relationship crumbles, they find solace and distraction in the people around them; mothers (Wiest), fellow grievers (Oh) and even the unlikeliest of people.

The Monkey: Nicole Kidman wowed as Becca. Her performance was subtle, but fiery when called for. It’s rare to see an actor so embody their character onscreen that it blurs the edges of reality, making the audience forget they are watching a professional. Kidman managed to shed herself entirely, bringing Becca alive onscreen for the audience to sympathize and emote with. She is well deserving of her recent Golden Globe nomination.

Dianne Wiest played Becca’s mother with the same believability and reality as Kidman, and their scenes together were both an accomplishment in acting and storytelling alike.

The themes of the movie were expertly threaded through the story; hints and notes of meaning and thematic material manifested wonderfully onscreen, both through dialogue and, most profoundly, the actors’ expressive abilities. The idea of “rabbit holes,” and parallel existences where one’s life may be happier, less painful, was a unique enough concept to the genre, giving the movie a fresh take and making it memorable.

While much of the plot was predictable, I was pleased to see many of the possible cliches avoided, in particular within the relationship of Howie and fellow grief counseling attendee, Gaby (Oh).

The Weasel: Aside from the “rabbit holes” theme, Rabbit Hole offered little else new – the story of grief is a common one and the movie dwells solely on the subject, becoming overbearing and one-note by the end, making it hard for some of the deeply emotional scenes to come across as powerfully as they should have.

It was clear the story was pulled from the stage, and while David Lindsay-Abaire’s screenplay was well done, the lingering feeling of staticity and quiet made the transition to screen slightly awkward.

Eckhart did a remarkable job as husband Howie, but when placed next to Kidman’s powerhouse performance, he seemed somewhat forced, as if he were trying to match her tear-for-tear, when, in actuality, a much more subdued and contrasting performance would have been more appropriate, not to mention, successful.

A moving film that showcases some of the best talent Hollywood has to offer, Rabbit Hole renewed my faith in movies that can stand alone without over-the-top stories or expensive special effects. This is a movie rooted in storytelling, and it tells its story well.

3.5 Death Stars out of 5

What do you think? If you’ve seen the play, how would you compare it to the movie? Do you think Nicole Kidman deserves her Golden Globe nomination? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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3 responses

27 12 2010

I can’t wait to check this one out! I skimmed your review…because I am looking forward to seeing it first!! I am glad to hear the Kidman did not disappoint.

28 12 2010

I’m curious to see this but given the bleak subject matter, I might reserve this until dvd. I just saw how plastic Nicole was in Australia (it was on tv around Christmas) but she looks really good in this one.

28 12 2010

It IS quite bleak, and a theatrical viewing probably isn’t necessary for this one…but Nicole was indeed great! 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

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